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The Player and the Game.
Well, quite a while ago I finished my Bard's Tale LP. I started more of a liveblog on Earthbound, but lost interest. Partially as I didn't feel like enough people were interested in it. So, I've decided to give another go to a picture LP. This one a fun little Windows Rougelike RPG. Castle of the Winds. A basic, but fun little graphical rougelike using Norse Mythology, with a smattering of more traditional Dungeons & Dragons elements. I remember getting the first episode of this game years ago in a CD of a bunch of windows games, most of them shareware. This would be my introduction to a rougelike, though it'd be years before I'd even know what the hell a rougelike was. (And I'd say ADOM introduced me to what really counted as a rougelike) The gameplay, at least in appearance and general gameplay style, is a rougelike. Invisible grid-style, turn-based, go down into a dungeon, kill everything, and take all the loot back up to the town to identify and sell. Not nearly as murderous, since it won't delete your save file if you die. Which also means it's a lot easier with the potential to save scum. Combine this with no enforced time limit (Not even a "hunger" mechanic) means it's a lot less murderous than most roguelikes. Still can be quite difficult, though. I'll go into story much more later. The gist is our adoptive parents were killed, and we're looking for revenge. So, with that quick introduction, let's begin!◊ Naturally, for reader input, I needed help deciding how to divy up the stats.◊ Rather interesting how the stats are slider-bar based rather than straight up numbers. Makes me wonder how much differece a single sliver of a stat really makes. Anyways, as you can see, the stats are Strength, Intelligence, Constitution, and Dexterity. I suspect they're all fairly self-explanitory for anybody that's used to video games. Another thing I needed my viewers to pick was our first level spell.◊ Every character is automatically a mage knight, with our choice of stat distribution deciding if he's more mage or knight. Either way, we can cast spells no matter how low our intellect. We also needed to pick a gender (Which only really changes the little icon) and a difficulty. If anybody has what they think could be a good icon, feel free to suggest it. For difficulty, I'm not nearly good enough at the game to try Experts Only. I decided to play on Intermediate, but if the viewers demanded, I figured I might have been able to bump it up to difficult. And, of course, our brave hero needs a name.
I forgot to mention the extent of the stat distribution in the last screen. You can only put them between 25% to 75% of the max. In other words, minimum is a single square in that four-square column, while max is three. Also, as a slightly annoying factor, you can't drain every stat down to minimum to redistribute, as you can't reduce anymore when that "Available" bar is full. Anyways, votes call for high magic, low strength. Though I found that with the stat points you get, you can have a very even build. Enough to put every stat at 62.5%. (That's two and a half squares.) Anyways, here's our starting stats.◊ For the heck of it, I went with a female character. A quick perusal of a Nordic Name site gave me the rather cool name of Gunmarie. Not that guns exist in this game, but still. I was tempted to try Difficult, but I chickened out. This may be more forgiving than most Roguelikes, but that doesn't mean you won't die a whole lot. Oh, and there is a graveyard screen, too. So, the first screen of gameplay that greets us.◊ Our hometown, a tiny hamlet (Which I can't seem to find a name for.) Along the top you see the Windows menus. File gives the general Save, Load, Quit, as well as Review Story, which lets you review all plot events that have occurred Character switches you to this screen,◊ letting me review current stats, base stats, and a bunch of other numbers I've never really had to worry about before. Also lets you change your icon, and see your attributes. We don't have any right now, though. Inventory takes you to this screen.◊ I must admit I love the graphical representation of all worn equipment. Looks easy enough now. One window for what we wear, one for what's on the ground, and one for what's in our pack. We can get bigger packs, belt pouches, and others later, though these have the problems of really clogging up this view with a bunch of tiny open windows. And it becomes annoying to resize them all. But we'll see that soon enough. This menu is quite user-friendly. Items can be picked up with the mouse and moved around to wherever you need them. For instance, I pick up my weapon, a dagger.◊ I can't move it into an inappropriate slot, like armour,◊ but I can put it in my free hand.◊ So equipment is easy to place where it needs to go. From the ground to my pack, or wherever I may determine it needs to go. Note that there's a shield space, but also a free hand space. And if I recall, even if you use a two-handed sword, you still have a free hand slot. The rationale could be something kept on your belt, except that there is also a belt pouch slot as well. Meh, whatever. Stuff in free hands, as well as the belt slot, can be quickly accessed from the main menu. But if it's in a pack or a bag, it takes time to dig it out, which is not a good thing when a monster is barreling down on you and you need a healing potion. There's also the sub-menu above. Character goes to the same menu I showed you before. Sort pack organizes your loose equipment for easy perusal. Name object lets you name an object, for the heck of it. Spell lets you cast spells here. (Mostly needed for identification spells in this menu) Activate will let you use what you have in your free hand or belt pouch. Window sorts through the various open windows in this screen. Anyways, returning to the previous window,◊ we have the menu option to switch to map view.◊ The village is small, but the dungeon floors will get bigger. And much less visible. This also is useful when we have Detect Monsters active, as that will tell us the location of monsters across the entire floor. Spell lets us cast spells, organize our quick pick spell menu, or browse our spellbook. We only have ten spells in our quick menu, but there's many more to learn and cast. Activate, again, lets us use items in quick-use places. Free Hand and belt pouches. Verbs lets us Get (Items from the ground), Examine (Which can be done by right-cliking anyway), Free Hand (puts an item on the ground into the Free Hand slot), Search (Traps and secret doors), Rest (Until healed, interrupted if you see a monster) and Sleep (Until mana is restored, only interrupted if attacked), Open, Close, Climb up, and Climb Down. There's the lower quick-button menu with commonly used commands. But, as a roguelike, there's also all the keyboard commands that I'll be using more often. So before we explore the town, time for some...
BACKGROUND Hiding anything from young children is difficult, for when no one is watching they have a way of getting into every nook and cranny of their ever expanding world. And so it was, that at the age of twelve you found an ornately carved wooden box hidden above the rafters of your farmhouse home. Intrigued, you examined it closely, from the intricate crown on the lid to the tiny lock that resisted your simple attempts to pick it. At last you replaced it where you'd found it, and continued the search for bird's nests and mice that had taken you there in the first place. It stayed in your mind, however, and you found yourself wondering, as you lay down to sleep at night, just what might be inside. Farm life can be hard, for there are always chores to be done, especially as the only child being raised by aging godparents. But there are joyous times as well, when the harvest is in, and life slows down to contemplate the splendors of autumn's beauty. And often, on those crisp autumn nights you managed to coax a story out of your godfather. Sometimes he would tell legends of the gods, wondrous tales of the battle between Thor and the giants, or the troubles caused by the trickster Loki. Other times he would tell of the days of his youth, when as a brave young warrior he had served in King Lifthransir's royal guard. But this night you had another subject in mind, for the carved box had been in your mind for days. "Grandfather," you said, for while he was not truly your grandfather he seemed as close as one, "what's in the box under the eaves?" His eyes opened wide, and he shot a look at your godmother who sat nearby. "Well," he said at last, "if ye be old enough to be askin', I guess ye be old enough to know. Why don't you fetch it here, child, and we'll take a look inside." Minutes later you watched with anticipation as he drew a fine chain out from under his tunic and used the small key that dangled from it to open the lock. Slowly he lifted the lid, and you caught a glimpse of gold reflecting the firelight. He reached inside and drew forth a finely crafted gold chain, with a circular pendant suspended beneath. "What is it?" you asked in a hushed voice, as you stared at the slowly spinning pendant glinting in the firelight. "A gift from your true father," he replied. "He came to us a dozen years ago, with the blood of a hundred wounds covering his body, and the awareness of his own mortality in his eyes. He handed us a small bundle, you as an infant, and collapsed on our doorstep. He awoke just once before he died, and asked us to raise you for him. He said the amulet he wore was to be yours on your eighteenth birthday. If you were worthy, he whispered as his voice failed, it would lead you to fortune and glory." You watched as your godfather gently lowered the pendant back into the box, and closed the lid. "And so, my child, you have much to live up to. Grow strong and wise, for the Norns have reached out and touched your life, as they do with few mortals, and I feel you will have need of all the talent and ability you can muster in whatever task lies ahead."So that's the background story, but there is one little detail that's missing, explaining why we're running around killing monsters. Next post.
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